10 Misconceptions About HBCUs That Need To End

I’ve been going to the first HBCU, Lincoln University, for about three years and I still occasionally get some questions and assumptions about HBCUs. Well, I’m here to tackle the 10 most common misconceptions.

1) Only black students can attend an HBCUs.

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HBCUs are open to students of all color and ethnicity. Currently, Lincoln also has Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic students. Just because the university may be historically black doesn’t mean it’s remained that way.

2) Only black professors can teach at HBCUs.

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I tackled this issue in an earlier blog post, so I won’t revisit the issue again. But HBCU professors aren’t just black; they’re Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and even Palestinian.

3) The only scholarships you can get are athletic scholarships.

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I get asked this question all the time when I mention that I am on scholarship. “Oh, so you must play a sport?” Just for the record, I’m on an academic scholarship. Not all HBCU students attend the university on an athletic scholarship. There are also merit scholarships for those of us whose talents lie in the classroom.

4) Everyone listens to rap music.

Again, refer to my blog post “Brown Skin, White Mind” for a more in depth discussion. HBCU students listen to all types of music from pop and rap to alternative and rock. Sadly, a lot of the parties do not reflect this diversity of musical taste.

5) Every girl knows how to twerk.

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Whoever came up with this deserves a high five–in the face. I’m tired of people asking me if I twerk when I tell them I go to an HBCU. They sometime ask this before they ask my major.

6) All girls at HBCUs can do hair.

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The number of girls who can do hair is evenly divided at Lincoln. And most of them learned from YouTube videos.

7) All HBCU students speak “ghetto”.

This is the assumption that I hate the most. To assume that because someone attends a black college they must be “ghetto” in the way they speak is both offensive and ignorant.

8) We all come from the same area.

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I come from a small town in California, my boyfriend and my best friend are both from DC, and another of my friends is from New Jersey. Enough said.

9) We are all on welfare.

For further clarification on this one, Google welfare statistics by race. HBCU students come from all socio-economic backgrounds.

10) All the girls dress provocatively and the guys dress like thugs.

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Again, something that’s offensive, ignorant and is also something people have asked me about. But when this is what they see in the media, I can’t really blame them.

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